What an exciting time of year! Summer is coming to an end and families are gearing up for the start of school. As a teacher in a Pre-Primary classroom, we get to experience a family's first time sending their child to school as a 3 year old. As exciting as it is, it can also cause some anxiety-the unknown, change, and concern of a child's emotions can cause parents to be a bit apprehensive as their child starts a new chapter in their life. As teachers prepare the classroom and lessons, there are also some great tips for parents to follow as we approach the first day of school.
*Begin by talking to your child about school in a very positive way. Tell them the reasons you chose the school for your child: wonderful materials, great playground, caring teachers etc. Children are adaptable to change, especially when they know what to expect. If the school is new for your child, try and schedule a time they can visit the school prior to the first day. It's helpful for children to see the space and meet the teachers.
*Set up a plan for drop off~ask the school/teachers what their procedure is and what they suggest for the drop off. Many schools have car lines and recommend starting the Carline routine the first day. However, if you feel more comfortable walking your child in the first day, that shouldn't be a problem. Practice how drop off will go with your child at home-role play and explain that you are dropping him/her off at at safe place where they will have fun and meet new friends. Be prepared for the fact that separating may not go smoothly at first, but be confident that the teachers have a lot of experience on how to handle these types of situations.
*Know that most children will become calm and interested in the classroom soon after you depart. The teacher can give you an update of how things went when you pick up your child at the end of the day. Most children learn to separate pretty quickly. If there is a pattern of a difficult separation, talk with your child's teacher to come up with a plan that can help support your child.
*Remember that teachers and parents are working together to instill self-confidence and independence for every child. The goal is to help your child enter the classroom confidently, hang up their backpack, wash their hands and choose work. Every child will reach this stage of independence and teachers and parents should be respectful of that process for each child.
Ultimately, your child will learn to love their school and look forward to coming each day!